© 2008

The Achilles of Rationalist Psychology

  • Thomas M. Lennon
  • Robert J. Stainton
  • Presents the only in-depth analysis of the argument as found throughout history

  • Covers the main line in the history of the Achilles argument in the Western philosophical tradition

  • Discusses variations on the Achilles argument and its criticism in ancient, medieval and early modern philosophy

  • Makes a valuable and original contribution to the history of philosophy of mind

  • Is relatively non-technical and therefore of use to students


Part of the Studies in the History of Philosophy of Mind book series (SHPM, volume 7)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-IX
  2. Karen Margrethe Nielsen
    Pages 19-41
  3. Devin Henry
    Pages 59-74
  4. Shannon Dea
    Pages 93-113
  5. Jean-Pierre Schachter
    Pages 115-131
  6. Benjamin Hill
    Pages 133-137
  7. Thomas M. Lennon
    Pages 139-158
  8. Jean-Pierre Schachter
    Pages 177-191
  9. Lorne Falkenstein
    Pages 193-214
  10. William Harper
    Pages 235-246
  11. Hunter Brown
    Pages 247-255
  12. Christopher Viger, Robyn Bluhm, Sharday Mosurinjohn
    Pages 257-275
  13. Back Matter
    Pages 277-289

About this book


How is it that the mind perceives the words of a verse as a verse and not just as a string of words? One answer to this question is that to do so the mind itself must already be unified as a simple thing without parts (and perhaps must therefore be immortal). Kant called this argument the Achilles, perhaps because of its apparent invincibility, and perhaps also because it has a fatal weak spot, or perhaps because it is the champion argument of rationalism. The argument and the problem it addresses have a long history, from the ancient world right up to the present.

The Achilles of Rationalist Psychology consists of newly written papers addressing each of the main contributors to the discussion of the Achilles. Despite the historical importance and intrinsic interest of the argument, very little has been written about it. This volume should therefore be of use to advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers across the domains of philosophy, history, and cognitive science.


Achilles Aristotle Consciousness Immanuel Kant Kant Mind Natur Plato Rationalism René Descartes Spinoza cognitive science philosophy psychology

Editors and affiliations

  • Thomas M. Lennon
    • 1
  • Robert J. Stainton
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyTalbot College University of Western OntarioCanada

Bibliographic information